This weekend I attended and taught at a weekend-long women’s retreat. It was an amazing group of women and some powerful instructors and I practiced 4 times in total and taught once between Friday evening and Sunday lunch. Then I came home and went to my Sunday night power vinyasa class.
I debated whether or not going to another class this weekend was doing too much (I’ve been feeling really tired and have been still trying to get caught up on things post-Nicaragua), but I went. I was feeling off and having a good sweat usually makes me feel better.
Tonight was no exception. And, the weekend left me so open and grounded that instead of having to focus on that, I had the experience of going deeper into the poses than I normally get. It was an amazingly smooth, powerful, at times messy, but very limit-expanding practice.
Then I got to savasana and I had the sought after experience of a quiet mind. In fact, my mind was like a black box theatre with no show going on. it was one of those diorama boxes, a blank slate, a space just existing so things could be created in it and there I was, the witnessing presence, just waiting for the show… Tada! my ego was there to provide me with one. No sooner was I aware that it was very quiet up top, all kinds of noise and chatter rushed in to fill that space. There was mental tap dancing – complete with canes and top hats… I think I might have even glimpsed some booby tassels.
I just smiled and tried to let the monkey mind hop around and out the other side, restoring quiet. Then – ‘Ooh! This would make a great blog post. Here’s what I’ll tell everyone about this experience I’m having…” And off we galloped into the future.
It was just another one of those times when I become aware of how much my mind needs to be DOING to prove it exists. And how much it seeks validation from outside sources to reinforce that proof of existence. If a tree falls in the forest of my mind, and no one’s around to hear it the real question isn’t whether it made a sound, but whether it existed at all to begin with.
It was a moment where I became acutely aware that there is something in me that is EXTREMELY resistant to a pleasant sense of nothing.
And that’s not necessarily bad. If I were happy to live in a black void and wait for Godot, I would never get any where in life. I would never go to that sixth yoga class of the weekend, pushing my boundaries and finding out what I’m capable of. BUT it’s also not necessarily good. That mental chatter usually doesn’t have too many new ideas – we rehash the past or worry about the future. We put on reality TV shows, filled with caricatures of people I think I know, and then believe them to be true.
So ultimately, it’s moments like this that make me grateful for the practices of yoga and meditation. It’s because of them that I can be aware of the opposing forces of stillness and movement in me and can make a more conscious choice about when it’s appropriate to DO and when I should just let it BE.